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Comics & Popular Arts at Dragon*Con

Want to hang out with Professor Awesome and Vickie (of Geek Rock) this weekend? We’ll be at Dragon*Con!

Dragon*Con is a huge annual science fiction/fantasy/etc convention held Labor Day weekend in Atlanta. Although there are probably hundreds of smaller conventions held throughout the year (and I do recommend you visit a small, local convention — fewer celebrities, but greater passion), there are really three giants: Comic-Con, Gen Con, and Dragon*Con, which finishes out the season. Some of you, still buzzing from Gen Con three weeks ago, are already packing for Dragon*Con this weekend. Dragon*Con officially draws over 50k attendees to the conference proper every year, but also has a huge parade through Atlanta that draws tens of thousands more.

One of the special elements of Dragon*Con is the fan tracks. Honestly, the main Dragon*Con events are OK, but they’re a lot like the kind of programming you might expect, sitting in a room with hundreds of other people listening to a celebrity give an interview with well-worn responses. Worth it? Yes, but …

Even better are the fan tracks. The fans organize between 3000-4000 hours of programming over dozens of tracks, from Alternate History to Young Adult Literature.  Animation, Podcasting, Puppetry, Stargate, Star Wars, Star Trek, Science, Robotics, Tolkien — if smart people like it, there’s a track for it. The main Dragon*Con events will always be pretty good, but rarely great, while the fan tracks can run the gamut from boring to insanely fun. And, as you can imagine, with thousands of hours of programming (not counting open-ended events like the gaming hall, the Walk of Fame, the unparalleled vendor’s area, and the wall-to-wall cosplay), there’s no way to do everything fun. You might get to see 1% of all the awesome stuff. So, you’ve got to pick and choose.

The absolute best sessions of all are the Comics and Popular Arts Conference sessions. Yes, I am one of the organizers of it, so you might accuse me of bias, but come to even ONE of our sessions and see if you don’t agree with me. Every single session someone says, “I can’t believe I didn’t know this was here!” It is not to be missed.

What is it? The Comics and Popular Arts Conference (CPAC) is a legit, peer-reviewed academic conference that runs within Dragon*Con. It’s not officially part of the Con and maintains an independent identity. CPAC has intentionally avoided having its own track, and instead partners with the regular fan tracks to provide programming. So, for example, the “Psychology and Gaming” session is part of the Tabletop Gaming track, “Comics, Semiotics, and Representation” is in the Comics track, “Gender in SciFi Film” is in the American Science Fiction Media track, and so forth.

Unlike any other session, CPAC sessions take serious academic discussions of these topics and bring them to the fans. They’re accessible, but not dumbed-down. And CPAC scholars aren’t just superfans — we are folks who study this for a living. Interested in philosophy and ethics in comic books? Professor Matt Brown is the Director of the Center for Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology. Interested in artificial intelligence? We’ve got Damien Patrick Williams, a.k.a. Wolven, author of “The Metaphysical Cyborg.” We’ve got Johnathan Flowers of San Jose State, author Kelly Sue DeConnick, Kari Storla (expert on female gamers) … well, just look at the schedule below to check out everyone we’ve got.

So, come to one of the CPAC sessions, meet an expert, and finally get the chance to really geek out about the things you love!

2014 COMICS AND POPULAR ARTS ACADEMIC CONFERENCE SCHEDULE [Printable version here, Professor Awesome’s University contributors in red below]

FRIDAY

10:00 AM – WELCOME (COMICS)
Description: Get a sneak peak at this year’s panel lineup, then hear from CPAAC’s keynote speaker Kelly Sue DeConnick!
Location: Hyatt, Hanover F

11:30 AM – GENDER IN SCI-FI FILM (AM SCI-FI MEDIA)
Description: Scholars @Joel Amnot & Johnathan Flowers investigate issues of gender, feminism, and masculine ft masculine ft in sci-fi films like Ender’s Game and Pacific Rim.
Participates:
Johnathan Flowers: Mako Mori is (Not) Your Feminist Heroine
Joel Amnott: Who is playing Ender’s Game? Whiteness, Masculinity, and Film Adaptation
Moderator: Vickie Willis
Location: Marriott, M301-M302

11:30 AM – PSYCHOLOGY AND GAMING (TABLETOP GAMING)
Description: Psychologists Josué Cardona, Woody Harris, & Charles Rohr discuss the use of tabletop games and RPGs in therapy and clinical psychology.
Participants:
· Josué Cardona & Woody Harris: Gaming Is Good for You: The Positive Effects of Video and Board Gaming
· Charles Rohr: Roll Knowledge (Psychology): Examining the Role of Tabletop Role Playing Games in Society, Psychology, and Treatment of United States Combat Veterans.
Moderator: Richard Nokes
Location: Hilton, Grand Salon C

2:00PM CPAAC PRESENTER LUNCH

4:00 PM – MYTH IN STARGATE (STARGATE)
Description: Scholars and fans examine the Stargate franchise as myth-building.
Participants:
Richard Scott Nokes
Location: Westin, Chastain HIJ

SATURDAY
.
10:00AM – LITERARY AND RELIGIOUS THEMES IN COMICS (COMICS)
Description: Scholars of comics, literature, & religion explore literary and theological themes in DC’s ‘New 52’ and ‘Swamp Thing.’ D. Humphries, N. Sheppard.
Participants:
Durf Humphries: Old Testaments and the New 52: Conflicting Religions of DC Comics
Natalie Sheppard: Abandon Hope, Y’all Who Enter Here: Swamp Thing and Dante’s Journey Through The Divine Comedy
Moderator: Richard Nokes
Location: Hyatt, Hanover F
.
2:30PM – SCI FI: GENDER & UTOPIA (SCIFI LITERATURE)
Description: Jennifer Hudgens discusses race & gender in Heinlein’s work, & Joseph Cadotte & Elizabeth Kidder discuss historical & fictional utopias & dystopias.
Participants:
Jennifer Hudgens: RAH, RAH, Womp: Race and Gender in Heinlein’s Science Fiction
Joseph Cadotte & Elizabeth Kidder: The Broken Paradise: the Dystopia Lurking Inside Every Utopia
Moderator: Vickie Willis
Location: Hyatt, Embassy A-B

SUNDAY
.
10:00 AM – POST-APOCALYPTIC SOCIAL CRITIQUE (APOCALYPSE RISING)
Description: Critical Social Theorist Clint Jones analyzes the Walking Dead, the Massive, and Snowpiercer to draw conclusions about modern society.
Participants:
Clint Jones: Post-Apocalyptic Human Society: An Examination of the End Times in The Walking Dead, The Massive, and Snowpiercer
Moderator: Damien Williams
Location: Westin, Chastain 1-2
.
2:30 PM – COMICS, SEMIOTICS, REPRESENTATION (COMICS)
Description: Comics scholars Spencer Chalifour and Jared Hegwood examine symbolic and representational techniques from Superman to Jeff Smith’s RASL.
Participants:
Spencer Chalifour: The Very Wheelwork of Nature: The Visual Representation of Alternate Realities in Jeff Smith’s RASL
Jared Hegwood: Subject, Signifier, Superman
Moderator: Matthew Brown
Location: Hyatt, Hanover F

4:00PM – CPAAC PRESENTERS MEETUP
Description: CPAAC Panelists meet and discuss experiences at this years conferences, and any improvements or adjustments to be made for the following year. (Closed Session)

10:00 PM DREAM LOGIC AND MURDER WIZARDRY (HORROR)
Description: A discussion of the narrative effects of psychological concepts and themes from MANHUNTER to NBC’s HANNIBAL
Participants:
Damien Patrick Williams
Cleolinda Jones
Location: Westin, Peachtree 1-2

MONDAY

10:00 AM – COMICS IN THE COMPOSITION CLASSROOM (COMICS)
Description: Comics scholar Karl Mohn and comics professional Kelly Sue DeConnick discuss the various ways that educators can use the comic medium to teach students about composition and narrative.
Participants:
Karl Mohn: Comics and Multimodal Composition in the First-Year Composition Classroom
Kelly Sue DeConnick
Moderator: Vickie Willis
Location: Hyatt, Hanover F

11:30 AM – STARGATE AS MYTH (STARGATE)
Panel Title: Stargate as Stories, Myths, and Personal Identity
Description: The panel examines the rise of new media, & its effect on how we virtualize & mythologize notions of the self & the Stargate community. R.S. Nokes, D. Williams
Participants:
Richard Scott Nokes & Damien Williams
Location: Westin, Chastain HIJ

1:00 PM – COMICS & FEMINISM (COMICS)
Description: Comics scholars Daniel Amrhein and Kari Storla trace feminist themes from the origins of Wonder Woman to the Tomb Raider reboot comic by Gail Simone.
Participants:
Daniel Amrhein: Why Wonder Woman? Tracing the Rise of a Feminist Icon
Kari Storla: “She’s just one girl”: A post (modern) feminist reading of the Tomb Raider reboot
Kelly Sue DeConnick
Moderator: Vickie Willis
Location: Hyatt, Hanover F
.
For official maps to help you get around the con, be sure to check here: http://www.dragoncon.org/?q=where_to_go_hyatt (Where home is Hyatt Regency Atlanta,
265 Peachtree Street Northeast,
Atlanta, 30303, US )

Ever notice you never see Professor Awesome and Dr. Richard Scott Nokes together?

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